This week, SEFS welcomes Laura Dee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Colorado, Boulder, as the Seminar speaker. She will present, “Quantifying how global change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services” at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Feb. 17.

Here is an abstract for her talk: “Managing ecosystems to provide ecosystem services in the face of global change is a pressing challenge for policy and science. The consequences of global change (e.g., extreme events and species loss) for ecosystem services will depend on how different populations and species respond, as well as on how interlinked management and social systems adapt. However, most ecosystem service assessments map services based on average conditions, overlooking complex interactions between social-ecological systems and environmental disturbances. In this talk, I will outline research that aims to advance understanding of how ecosystem services are being altered by global change, and how to manage these complex systems. I will draw on examples from different systems, including 1) extreme events in boreal forests, 2) vulnerability of ecosystem services to species losses in coastal food webs, and 3) management of widespread species invasions that threaten food production and biodiversity.  Together, this work contributes to our understanding of how large-scale and accelerating changes in environmental disturbances and biodiversity loss impact ecosystem services and what we can do in response.”

Sustaining both biodiversity and nature’s contribution to people (i.e., ecosystem services) is a major challenge for scientists and managers. Achieving both goals is complicated by accelerating global environmental change. In response, Dee’s research combines global change ecology, community ecology, conservation and sustainability science and uses quantitative tools from multiple disciplines to understand how ecosystems contribute to human well-being, how global change will alter these relationships, and how to best adapt management in response.       

Dee’s interests span multiple spatial scales and ecosystem types (e.g., forests, marine and coastal ecosystems); and she leverages quantitative tools from several disciplines (e.g., ecological theory, network theory, causal inference approaches from econometrics, decision science, and functional trait ecology). To tackle complex sustainability challenges, Dee leads and contributes regularly to collaborative and interdisciplinary teams that focus on synthesis science (e.g., with ecologists, sociologists, economists, applied mathematicians, computer scientists, and conservation practitioners). 

Dee received her Ph.D. in Ecology, at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara, focused on the impacts of temperature variability and biodiversity on global fisheries yields and the extent to which managing for ecosystem services provides an economic incentive for conservation. She completed a concurrent MA in Economics at UC Santa Barbara. Dee was a post-doctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, examining how extreme disturbances alter forest ecosystem services.

Join us at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 via Zoom:

The full SEFS Seminar lineup for the winter quarter can be found here.

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